The program, called for under a state law enacted earlier this year, will make competitive grants available to animal shelters and rescue groups to promote and provide spay/neuter services and educational outreach. The effort will be funded by a surcharge on registration fees that pet food manufacturers must pay to sell their products in the state.
The program’s seven-member advisory board, which will provide guidance on how grant applications should be solicited and evaluated, held its first meeting Dec. 6 in Annapolis and elected attorney and animal welfare advocate Amy Hanigan as its chair. The panel’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 31.
The spay/neuter initiative is designed to reduce pet overpopulation and decrease the number of animals put down in shelters in Maryland. About 45,000 cats and dogs currently die in these facilities each year.